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Forward progress newsletter, February 2007 submission

Torque marketing article,

Forward progress newsletter, February 2007 submission

[Theme: Keeping your eye on the score. Watching your mission critical measures.]

Building Badass Brands: a marketing column by Kevin Masi Co-founder and principal of Torque, Ltd.,

Creative Marketing Agency [email protected] www.torquelaunch.com

Web 2.0 answers to marketing accountability

More than ever, marketing managers must show financial accountability for dollars invested. According to the old saw, marketers lament that “only 50% of my marketing works. The problem is, I don’t know which 50%.” For most businesses, that general sense is just not enough.

Thanks to Web 2.0 practices, marketing effectiveness is more measurable than ever. Here’s how the general business community is planning for the year, according to B2B January magazine’s “2007 marketing plans and priorities” survey: web-based lead generation is among the top 5 marketing priorities, with 62% spend allotted for customer acquisition, 11% for customer retention, and 20% for brand awareness.

If we phrase these priorities as a strategy, one way to read them is: “design your marketing programs to generate awareness, leading to expressions of interest and response, that can be captured and transferred to the sales organization.”

Several imperatives emerge if you use a strategy like this as a model. The first is that brand marketing has a bigger purpose than simply projecting an image. Instead, brands presented through marketing media must present clear value and incentives to approach your company.

The second imperative: Your company must put forward a distinct and meaningful offer to make your customer care enough to engage in a conversation with you. The offer may be a means to get them to try your product, or take a closer look at it.

The third imperative: An effective offer requires a sturdy link between marketing and sales, to tie the brand promise to the sales process. The purchasing process shapes a great deal of a customer’s brand experience, and it therefore can’t be neglected in the design of a marketing program. The pressure on sales representatives is to function consistently with your brand message, delivering a sales experience consistent with your brand promise.

And finally: With big-ticket sales, the golden rule holds that a minimum of six touch points is required before a sale can be made, sometimes over the course of 18 months or more. Customer relationship management tools facilitate this long process. Ongoing marketing materials, such as newsletters, white papers, news releases and press coverage, provide the substance of these touch points.

Marketers need to identify the key marketing components, to measure what goes in (investment), and what comes out (return). Putting the company’s website in the center, wrapping marketing content around it, and linking lead management and long-term customer relationship management tools to the marketing process, allow you to measure each step for its own productivity, and ultimately for sales volume produced.

Before you throw up your hands at how complex this sounds, take heart: the simpler the metrics, the better. Most companies haven’t begun to use the data they have, yet all businesses are using —and spending money on—these processes in some form already. Start simply, quantify, and adjust. With Web 2.0 tools and practices, your marketing plan can be far more than 50% productive.

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